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Twitter rolls out new 280-character limit to majority of users

Twitter has expanded the number of characters available in a tweet from 140 to 280 for the majority of its users.

The social media giant had announced in September that it would be testing the new limit to allow its tweeters to more “easily express themselves”, but has now rolled out the extension across its global user base.

In a blog post, Twitter explained only 5% of tweets sent during the trial period were longer than 140 characters, and only 2% were over 190.

However, Twitter did say those who made use of the character extension received more engagement, although there was no quantitative data shared to support this.

How will this affect user behaviour and experience?

Aliza Rosen, product manager at Twitter, said: “During the first few days of the test many people tweeted the full 280-limit because it was new and novel, but soon after behaviour normalised.

"We saw when people needed to use more than 140 characters, they tweeted more easily and more often. But importantly, people tweeted below 140 most of the time and the brevity of Twitter remained."

Rosen said that the character extension would not drastically affect user experience, with Twitter expecting a spike in people using the full 280-character limit for a short time before the novelty eventually wears off.

The extension will not apply to tweets written in Chinese, Japanese and Korean, as Twitter believes “cramming is not an issue in these languages”.

When the new character limit was first announced in September, users were critical of the proposed extension, with many arguing Twitter’s strongest asset is its brevity.

Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey announced the official release of the character extension in an ironically precise tweet, after he was mocked for a long-winded post back in September while discussing the trial version.

This is undoubtedly the biggest change to Twitter’s interface since photos stopped counting towards character counts last year.

Twitter currently has around 330 million global active monthly users, placing it ahead of LinkedIn (106 million), but languishing some way behind social media rivals Instagram (638 million) and Facebook (2 billion).